My 16-year-old daughter and I just spent five fantastic days in the LA area. Many thanks for all the advice I got here at TA. For the benefit of other parents traveling to LA with teen daughters, here are our trip details in brief:
-Rented a Mustang convertible with GPS from Enterprise at LAX. GPS is very helpful to have.
-Stayed at the CalMar Hotel Suites in Santa Monica. Appreciated the great location and extra room (living area, kitchen, bedroom with two double beds) and could overlook that the hotel needs updating (windows and pool area, especially)
-Shopped, shopped and shopped some more. Avoided any stores that we have in NY. Loved Montana Avenue and Main Street in Santa Monica, Abbott Kinney Blvd in Venice, Country Market in Mailbu. Original boutiques with cute clothes at reasonable prices and friendly staff. Daughter got some great deals and is looking forward to wearing her California clothes when school starts.
-Took the Warner Brothers studio tour. Big hit with daughter but I felt we didn't get to see as much because of all the filming going on, which we were not allowed to watch. Daughter, who has loved "Full House" since she was two, was happy to see John Stamos filming a scene for "ER," even though he must have been a quarter-mile away.
-Saw all the obligatory sites in Hollywood, and shopped at Melrose Ave, Robertson and W. 3rd Streets, but prices are seriously inflated here.
-Rented bicycles and biked to Venice for the day. Very fun.
-Spent a day driving south: Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beaches, which were all very lively and fun to see; Palos Verdes Estates, where I lived as a teenager and had since forgotten how beautiful it is; Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Shopped and ate in LB, which was packed with tourists.
-Spent last day in Malibu. Walked along the beach and shopped at the Country Market. Found a Maybach parked next to our Mustang rental and wished we could have hung around to see who the owner was.
Tips for future visitors:
-Bring a roll of quarters for all the parking meters.
-Be religious about applying sunscreen before you go out in the morning. You burn way faster here.
-Don't be nervous about driving in LA, especially if you're used to driving in cities on the East Coast. It's easier here, including on the freeways. Streets everywhere are well marked.
-If your kid(s) are not used to seeing homeless people around, do prepare them that this is something they will see.
-Enjoy! We both quickly adopted the laid-back lifestyle and could not stop marveling at how beautiful the weather was each day.